Shakespeare's England is gearing up for 23 April 2016 when the region celebrates 400 years of William Shakespeare's legacy. Next year commemorates 400 years since the death of the world famous playwright and this special anniversary year is a unique opportunity to visit his home of Stratford-upon-Avon and the surrounding area. Shakespeare's England will celebrate his legacy with a range of exciting new exhibitions and events including a new immersive theatrical experience at the Royal Shakespeare Company; a reimagining of Shakespeare's final home, New Place, and Shakespeare's Schoolroom at King Edward VI School will open for the first time to the general public.
The Shakespeare Birthplace Trust is transforming New Place, the site of Shakespeare's family home in Stratford-upon-Avon for the last 19 years of his adult life, to create a new heritage landmark where visitors can discover Shakespeare at the height of his success. The re-imagination of this unique site will be the single most significant Shakespearian project anywhere in the world to commemorate his legacy. In 2016, visitors will be able to walk in Shakespeare's footsteps through a new threshold on the site of his gatehouse and trace the footprint of his family home in a contemporary landscape setting. Commissioned artworks and displays will evoke a sense of family life and the 26 major works written during Shakespeare's ownership of New Place. A new exhibition will throw light on Shakespeare the family man, homeowner and successful entrepreneur, featuring rare and important artefacts relating to his life at New Place, many of them on display for the first time.
The Royal Shakespeare Company (RSC)'s 2016 season includes productions of A Midsummer Night's Dream, Hamlet, Cymbeline, Doctor Faustus, Don Quixote and The Alchemist. A major new exhibition, The Play's The Thing, will open in June in The Swan Theatre front of house areas (booking from January). It will celebrate the magic of Shakespeare on stage and reveal the secrets and stories from 100 years of theatre-making in Stratford-upon-Avon. The Other Place is the RSC's research and development hub, and home to the Company's new studio theatre, rehearsal rooms and costume store and café bar. It will reopen in April 2016 and a new discovery tour will take visitors on a journey from Page to Stage, from the first day of rehearsals to the first performance, with an opportunity to look inside the RSC's store of 30,000 costumes for the very first time. Booking open now. As part of the annual Shakespeare Birthday Celebrations on 23 April, the RSC will offer a fun-packed day of free outdoor events for all the family, including a breath taking show by acrobatic company, Mimbre, inspired by Shakespeare's stories. The day will end with a spectacular free firework display. For those who can't make it to Stratford, The Shakespeare
Show (working title) will be broadcast live on BBC2. A unique collaboration between the RSC and the BBC, this special evening, hosted by David Tennant, will celebrate Shakespeare's legacy across all the arts. King Edward VI School, the school which William Shakespeare attended in Stratford-upon-Avon, will restore and open Shakespeare's Schoolroom & Guildhall as a visitor attraction in 2016. Visitors will be able to experience the place, not far from his Birthplace, where Shakespeare was educated and inspired to become the world's greatest playwright, and to learn of the extraordinary history of the building and the civic history of the town. Built between1418-20, the Guildhall, described by historian and broadcaster, Michael Wood, as 'one of the most atmospheric, magical and important buildings in the whole of Britain', was last renovated in the 1890s. The building will undergo major restoration and new interactive displays, filmed performances, a Tudor lesson and an 18th century classroom will bring Shakespeare's story to life. With over 400 years of involvement in the social and religious aspects of the town, including Shakespeare's father's leading role in the council - there are plenty of stories to uncover.
Visit the streets of Stratford-upon-Avon for the annual Shakespeare Birthday Celebrations on 23 & 24 April for a weekend of family fun which will include plenty of pageantry, pomp and performance. Crowds will line the streets as actors, foreign diplomats, civic dignitaries and local children join a 1,000-strong grand Birthday Procession through the streets on the Saturday as Stratford pays tribute to the most famous playwright and poet who was born and died on the same day - 23 April. Starting at the Town Hall the procession will wind its way through the town to Shakespeare's Birthplace and return passing his School before arriving at the altar of Holy Trinity Church.
Visit the Holy Trinity Church where Shakespeare was both baptised and buried. Inside you can see the graves of William Shakespeare, his wife Anne Hathaway and other family members. Above the graves is the Shakespeare Memorial, which was erected some six years after the dramatist's death, and is considered to be one of the most accurate likenesses available. Also in the stunning chancel are a set of 26 carved wooden misericords dating from 1480. The original font in which the infant William is likely to have been christened is by his grave. Next to it are copies of the church registers in which the dates of Shakespeare's christening and funeral are inscribed.
Master Shakespeare has come back through time to provide tours of his beloved home town of Stratford-upon-Avon. William will guide visitors along the beautiful streets and through wonderful old buildings whilst relating tales of his life and works. From birth to grave, he will take visitors through the history of the town. Tours take place every Saturday at 2pm from Tudor World in Sheep Street and pass his birthplace, daughter's houses, his old school, his theatre and finally his last resting place at Holy Trinity Church. The cost is £5 for adults, £4 concs, £3 children, £13 family ticket (2 adults & 2 children), 5 and unders are free!
Visitors can experience more than 1,100 years of jaw-dropping history at Warwick Castle. Dazzling shows and attractions, heaps of gruesome history and awesome birds of prey, all set in 64 acres of beautiful grounds and gardens make Warwick Castle a fun, action-packed and unforgettable day out for everyone! Stay overnight year-round in a deluxe Tower Suite or enjoy Mediaeval Glamping in summer for a truly memorable short break. Open every day apart from Christmas Day, Warwick Castle brings history to life with its attractions including Time Tower and The Castle Dungeon - and a whole host of characters from history.
In 2016 Compton Verney will be the regional hub for the Capability Brown 300 celebrations. The art gallery will feature a year-long display about its landscape and the other Brownian landscapes in the region. At the start of the season visitors will see a number of significant changes including a new Visitor Welcome Centre, the recreation of Brown's original Georgian pathways, new interpretation points and the opportunity to see the progress on the restoration of the Brownian chapel. In the spring Compton Verney will work with the RSC on an exhibition which will map key themes within Shakespeare's plays which have inspired artists across the ages.
The Heritage Motor Centre will close their Museum in the winter and will re-open in February 2016 with a newly refurbished Museum and new name "British Motor Museum". Combined with the Museums new Collections Centre, visitors will now have over 400 historic British Cars to view. The museum will have a new layout with fresh interpretation and more hands-on interaction for visitors. The BMM will also celebrate the Festival of the British Car throughout 2016 with a range of themed events, activities and lectures.
Hill Close Gardens in Warwick will host a special 'Lost and Found' event from 9 - 10 July to celebrate the gardens being saved, restored and open to the public in 2006. The gardens will bring to life previous Victorian plotholders and the subsequent dereliction of the hedged gardens. Reminders will be set around the gardens and summerhouses as they are today; reconstructed to capture the planting and personality of their original gardeners.
The Stratford-upon-Avon Literary Festival, set in the home of the world's greatest writer, is one of the most respected literary festivals in the UK, attracting thousands of people who share one passion: a love of books, writing and reading. The Festival celebrates its 9th year in 2016 (dates to be announced) with an exciting and diverse programme of debates, celebrity author events, workshops, current affairs and events for children.
From July - October, Leamington Spa Art Gallery & Museum will host an exhibition 'The Art of Deception: The work of the Leamington camouflage group in the Second World War'. A section of the Civil Defence Camouflage Establishment was based in Leamington from 1939 to 1944. The exhibition will provide an account of the complex tasks of aerial surveillance, design, testing and production of camouflage undertaken.
The Warwick Folk Festival will take place from 21 - 24 July and will showcase a new concert venue as well as a new home for ceilidh dancing events within Warwick School. The Festival brings together leading names from around the world and has something for everyone from dedicated folk fans to music lovers with a wide range of tastes and styles including blues, rock, country and funk.
Go Cotswolds, who provide small group tours of the Cotswolds from Stratford-upon-Avon, celebrate their 2nd birthday in 2016. The tours offer visitors the opportunity to experience the Cotswolds with a local taking in towns and villages such as Chipping Campden, Broadway, Stow-on-the-Wold and Bourton-on-the-Water, as well as sights and beauty spots including Broadway Tower, Dover's Hill and the Rollright Stones.
Playbox Theatre will celebrate the anniversary with a series of events including productions, special events, live music from Tudor England, films and interactive projects. Shakespeare has been central to the work at Playbox Theatre since its inception in 1986 with their productions being seen in the UK, USA, Europe and Japan. In 2008 they created a unique training and performance programme for young people wishing to develop their skills in classical theatre; Shakespeare Young Company is now in its 7th year and recently presented 4 projects in Santa Monica. Playbox Theatre will present California. Games + Thrones, an interactive retelling of Shakespeare's Henry VI which opens in Warwick on 23 April.
Orchestra of the Swan (OOTS), one of the UK's leading chamber orchestras, has its home in Shakespeare's Stratford-upon-Avon. OOTS's 2016 season includes a performance with Tamsin Waley-Cohen, nominated by Birmingham Town Hall/Symphony Hall for the prestigious European Concert Hall Organisation's Rising Stars programme in the 2016/17, with her flawless interpretation of Tchaikovsky Violin Concerto (12 April at Stratford ArtsHouse) and a special Shakespeare 400 anniversary concert with a new work by Dobrinka Tabakova, their resident composer, and the Lark Ascending by Vaughan Williams, voted Britain's favourite piece of classical music (21 April at Holy Trinity Church).
The stunning lakeside setting of Ragley Hall will once again play host to the final night of the UK's premier picnic concert series as the Battle Proms returns on Saturday 13 August. In 2015 a record breaking crowd of over 7,000 invaded the grounds of Ragley for an evening of sublime classical music, carefully choreographed Spitfire and cavalry displays, dramatic cannon fire and a stunning firework finale - all part of the Battle Proms experience!
Take a five night tour with a professional Shakespearean actor with Discover Shakespeare's Way from 6 - 11 May. The tour offers an opportunity to follow in the footsteps of the world's most celebrated playwright in a special anniversary year. Visitors can now trace the 146 mile journey from the Globe Theatre on London's South Bank to the banks of the River Avon in the comfort of a luxury transported tour. The journey offers a tailor-made package of theatre visits, behind the scenes tours, luxury transport and top quality accommodation. Tour leader, James Howard, is a professional actor who has performed in Shakespeare's plays for more than 15 years, and has worked for the National Theatre, Donmar Warehouse and the RSC.
Visit The Fleece Inn near Evesham, a renowned National Trust-owned public house, which hosts many interesting events during the year. Highlights include a traditional Wassail on 9 January and several associated with the asparagus season including an Asparagus Family Fun Day on 30 May and annual Asparagus Auctions on 29 May & 5 June.
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